Fragaria virginiana

Anyone cultivating this native North American strawberry? I think it deserves its own thread.

I’ve attempted to “domesticate” our local wild strain—that is to say, I transplanted several individuals last year into a spot with decent soil and no major competition. They bloomed heavily this year but fruit set was scanty: perhaps they’ll produce better as the colony gets a little older, or maybe they require more genetic diversity? Also, the flower/berry stalks are hidden far under the foliage—almost at ground level—so perhaps they are missed by pollinators? Those that have set are variable in size. Here’s a nice early-ripener I accidentally knocked off today, and which—though it wasn’t fully ripe—still had a strong, pleasing, sweet-tart wild strawberry flavor.

They are eager runners—seemingly more aggressive than even musks. If I let them, I think they’ll overrun my rhubarb!

Leaves on happy specimens are very large. (My hands are medium-sized.)

This is my—limited!—experience with cultivating (if one can call my rather laissez-faire methods that) F. virginiana. Please share your own!

It would be interesting to know what cultivars are extant. Many early virginiana varieties such as “Large Early Scarlet” are presumably extinct—consigned to oblivion by the bigger (but blander) garden hybrid.

On a related note: I had originally (because of the name) thought the tissue cultured strawberry sold by Baker Creek as “Scarlet” might be a surviving older cultivar of F. virginiana, but I do not believe it is. @Drew51 has elsewhere identified it as a conical-fruited musk (F. moschata), and I think he is on to something. Leaves do closely resemble my Profumata di Tortona and seedling musks----as does its habit of bearing above the foliage (F. virginiana, according to my reading, always bears either below or at leaf level). The Baker Creek “Scarlet” does, however, seem strongly self-fertile, which, from what I gather, would make it mighty special for a hautbois strawberry.


Wow, you’re a million miles ahead of me. I grow two ‘strawberries’. I used to grow a white alpine that had small leaves but intense flavor. I got the seeds from a Houzz member years ago. All the planting of tree seedlings in that raised bed took over and I apparently dug that alpine out on accident.

Mara des Bois is every bit as good or better than that alpine. I’m telling you, that alpine was excellent.

Thanks for the information and photos.


I like white alpines a lot—so if Mara des Bois is as good or better—and bigger(!) . . . I guess MdB is in my future plans! :slightly_smiling_face: Thanks, Dax!


Then there’s a bigger alternative to MdB called Gariguette. @mrsg47 is familiar with this one.

What are you feeding them to get them so big?I had a white alpine that spread by runners and tried taking over my garden until I started growing vining crops which shaded them out.


Thanks, Andrew! I’ll check Gariguette out, too.

They might be getting a little second-hand fertilizer from the rhubarb—but I’ve not fed them much, except a little Plant-Tone early season. I think they’re just efficient nutrient scavengers!

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Scarlet is the most prolific and productive musk I grow. Although I like them all.
I just took these photos a few minutes ago

A blueberry is in the middle.

I grew the wild American but it kept dying out on me. Note that Scarlet is growing very well in highly acidic soil.


Regarding F. virginiana cultivars, I forgot probably the most famous extant one: Little Scarlet, used to make the famous English preserve bearing the same name.

Edit: Linked article notes that they are “unpredictable croppers”; perhaps that is as good an explanation as any for why my wild strain bloomed heavily but bore little this year. Well, there’s always next year—as fruit growers are wont to say!

our family picked these when i was young. my mother would pack a lunch and we would go for the day. they are the best tasting strawberry. alpines a close 2nd. im growing and ive shared with Drew51 some plugs i grew out of Rodluvan strawberry. got the seeds from The Strawberry Store. its a Swedish cross of vesca and virginiana. its flowering right now so ill get to taste them this summer for the 1st time.

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I have these seed grown Canadian Fragaria virginianas. I’ve never tasted one but they’re now almost flowering in this warm spot. I wish I had another variety to pollinate them with in case they’re from closely related plants and have difficulty producing fruit… Well there’s still time.


are you in the States or Canada? they should be self pollinating as far as i know.

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Nope, in northern Europe. -I am expecting some fruit but I thought adding a garden variety next to them might give a bit more berries. Now is the best time to get them.

I was thinking back to that story about the French bringing back some strawberry clones from America with them. They failed to fruit until they put the f. virginiana clones next to their f. chiloensis clones. And voila! Enter garden strawberry. So there might be some self incompatibility problems in the wild ones.

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Thanks so much for those. I hate how bad strawberries look when plugs, but they had no problem establishing quite quickly. Small but you could not tell I just put them in. I probably won’t get fruit this year, but for sure next year.
Virginiana is a great tasting fruit. I like it the best for these small types. I’m hoping this cross brings some of that flavor as virginiana and red alpines struggle here and die out on me. I tried three times to establish them. I’m sure there is a red alpine out there that will grow here. I have not found it yet!

I need strawberries that are tough, drought tolerant, and spread even when conditions are bad. So far only White D pineberry, Scarlet from Bakers, and an unknown yellow alpine fit the bill. I can keep most alive but have to baby them. And I do for now.

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those plugs stayed n a tray over winter with no drainage . its a miracle they survived at all. i have about 20 alpines that are 3 yrs old and pretty big, planted out around my other plants and trees. they get a sprinkle of 10-10-10 in spring , fresh mulch and they produce like crazy . come spring theres a whole bunch of babies around the plant from the strawberries i missed the last summer. hard to get all of them. like raspberries, strawberries are weeds here. the plugs i have left are going in fabric pots in the greenhouse to see how much fruit crop i can get from them in good soil. theres a few vids from the owner of the strawberry store talking about rodluvan on youtube. berries are even bigger than vesca. they get to be big plants in a few years.

the alpines i have that grow best are in partial shade. the ones in full sun struggle. i had a yellow wonder alpine that was almost completely shaded in between 2 black currants and it still produced like crazy. wild viginianas here are the same. the biggest plants with the biggest berries are shaded by a wood line or the north side of a bush in a open field. i think its a mistake to plant them in full sun like domesticated strawberries.


I am interested in the white variety of Fragaria virginiana sold by edible landscaping but no one chimed in who is growing this specific variety.

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ive never heard of it. its not grown by the strawberry store nor have i seen its seed sold by have you googled it?

I just put 12 Fragaria virginiana plants in ground. Squirrels took off with 10 of them.

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i mean other than these guys.

what the hell?